What is a Social Security award letter?
A Social Security Award Letter, known as an Award Notice, is the letter the Social Security Administration (SSA) will send to you if you are awarded disability benefits. The award letter will explained that you were approved for disability benefits as well as go over any other important information that you should know. It also contains information regarding the date from which you will be entitled to collect disability payments, the amount of your Social Security Disability benefits, and when to expect payments to begin. If you need a new copy of your letter, the SSA can send you one or you can log into mySSA to request one.
If your initial Social Security Disability benefits claim is accepted, you will likely receive an award letter within three months of your application. This time can and does vary due to the overload of cases the Social Security Administration is processing.
If your Social Security Disability benefits were approved at some point in the appeals process, it may take longer for your award letter to reach you. In some cases, you may even begin to collect Social Security Disability benefits before you have received your award letter. The award letter is always sent in the mail, via the US Postal Service.
You will want to note the date you became eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, as stated in your award letter. In most cases, this will be the date you first made your intent to file known to the Social Security Administration. This is often the day you first filed a claim, though it may be sooner if you contacted the SSA regarding your intent to file for Social Security Disability benefits before actually filing your claim.
The eligibility date on your award letter will be used to determine the amount of back pay to which you are entitled. Generally speaking, should you receive an award letter, you will be entitled to Social Security Disability back pay dating to your initial claim. Your best chance of receiving an award letter quickly, of course, lies in having an experienced Social Security attorney work with you through all stages of the Social Security Disability application process. This is because working with a disability attorney or advocate is one of the most common signs your disability claim will be approved.